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Culture Of Protest

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The Indian anti-corruption movement, lead by Social Activist Anna Hazare brought a change in my perspective towards politics. At that point of time I was a class 10th student. I still remember how I along with my friends organized a small march in my locality, way back in 2012, in support of that movement.

I was so much inspired and motivated my Anna Hazare that I asked my friends to do something in support of his movement. And finally a march was organized. I have participated in lot of political rally and march during my college life but this march in support of Anna was special. It was my first experience to participate in any type of political activity. What made it special was that it all started with 5-6 school students holding candle in their hand and within a span of 10-15 minutes more and more people started joining us and at last it ended with almost 150 people raising the slogan of “anna tum sangharsh kro hum tumhara sath h” and many more alike.

In a democratic set up like India, voice of dissent is integral part of its structure and for healthy democracy such voices must be raised by all the stakeholders.  What current dispensation is doing is suppressing these voices by different methods. Sometimes by using power granted under section 144 of CrPC, imposing internet shutdown, use of force by police personal, house arrest, detention all in the name of maintaining law and order situation. It is interesting to note that India i.e. world largest democracy is global leader in internet shutdown. It is not the first time that government has tried to suppress the voices of dissent, every political party when in power has done the same. And every time people have resisted the suppression of those in power and ultimately overthrown those in power. We i.e. the people of India must understand why protest in democracy is necessary and why protest need to be peaceful.

First of all, in democratic republic it is government by the people and for the people. Enjoying a mandate in the parliament or state assembly didn’t empower a political party to change the basic structure of our constitution. One must remember that Constitution of India is supreme law of the land whose basic structure can’t be altered at any cost. Our constitution enshrined in itself the ideal of our freedom struggle and it is fundamental duty of every citizen to protect these ideal. And to protect these scared ideal we must protest against the barbarian undemocratic law and policy of any government which tend to change the founding principle of our constitution. Therefore, citizen must act as pressure group and maintain a check and balance upon the government by speaking and raising their voice of dissent. Criticism of any law, policy or even any judgment of Supreme Court is fundamental right of a citizen. It must be remembered that Supreme Court upheld the suspension of fundamental right during emergency of 1975, thus even Supreme Court is also subject to criticism.

Why all kind of protest need to peaceful is because of the fact that violent protest give an opportunity to government to suppress the voice of dissent. Any government never wants that any kind of protest shall be organized and succeed during their rule. It is simply because protest of any kind may lead to change in power and thus ousting the political party out of power as it gives rise to anti-incumbency. In past few days what can become a great political movement after BJP come into power at center has been dented by violent protested at many places. Media with some exemption, which had changed its role from providing a space for representation of such voices to providing a space for spreading false propaganda of government in last one decade, such a violent protest also give opportunity to media houses to defame these protest and in all these mess logic and reasoning behind the protest is lost and ultimately it losses the support of people which is very important for any protest to succeed. A protest without a support of people will not be effective because dispensation will not be under pressure at all as it still have the support of majority vote bank. Therefore it become important on the part of protester to ensure peace and make sure that some anti-social element didn’t hijacked their protest.

At last what I want to say is that, why Anna Hazare lead movement was successful, why he got support from different quarter of our society is due to the fact that it was peaceful and everyone was more aware, affected by corruption and thus everyone wants to curb the menace of corruption. Therefore, what is important for a protest to be successful is that one who is protesting must be able to convey his reasoning and rationale behind the protest making people aware about its consequence, about its impact on their life and it will also help in inculcating the constitutional values among people which need to be harness at this point of time which will ultimately strengthen our democracy.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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